Metro minimum fare to go up
Now that the elections are over in Bengal, the Railway Board is contemplating a revision in fares for the Kolkata Metro. The new fare structure will be introduced shortly , confirmed a Metro official.
A proposal for this was sent to the board by Metro Railway last November, but it was put on hold due to the assembly elections. “Recently , efforts were made to find out the total operating expenditure, ways to break even, increase revenue deficit and work out subsidies.These details were discussed during a high-level meeting convened by general manager A K Goel,“ said an official.
In 2010-11, it cost Metro Rs 33,498 to run a train. This went up to Rs 57,968 in 2014-15. The expenses of running a train in 2015-16 was Rs 62,090. “If you compare this with the earnings, the dismal state of affairs becomes clear. In 2014-15, Metro’s earnings per train was Rs 20,103. This increased only marginally to Rs 20,786 in 2015-16,“ the official said.
This means that Metro loses Rs 41,304 for per run. With 278 services on weekdays, Metro loses a whopping Rs 1,14,82,512 per day . Once 300 services start running, after the third platform at Tollygunge, the loss will go up to Rs 1,23,91,200 per day. The expenses will go up even more as the AC fleet increases.
Revenue generated from other sources like commercial exploitation of space isn’t enough to offset this. The Metro’s operating ratio, unsurprisingly, hovers around 298.
Metro officials, however, aren’t ready to call this a fare hike. They say that the fares are simply being “restructured“.
It has been calculated that nearly 74.39% passengers travel for 10km or less, but contribute to 59.80% of the revenue. The percentage of total passengers travelling between 10 and 20km is 24.38, while only 1.23% travel between 20 and 27.23km. Keeping this in mind, Metro plans to simplify the fare structure. Instead of six zones of 5km each, there will now be three zones of 10km each. The fare slabs proposed are Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 20. While the minimum fare will go up from Rs 5 to Rs 10, the maximum will come down from Rs 25 to Rs 20.
Fares were revised after 13 years on November 7, 2013. However, even then the Metro officials didn’t get exactly what they had asked for as then minister of state for railways Adhir Chowdhury wouldn’t allow the minimum fare to be increased.
Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee refused to go into much detail.“Given the kind of services we provide to passengers, people should not have any objection to paying a little more.Only if Metro’s financial condition improves will better services be possible.After all, Metro Railway’s fare structure is the lowest when compared to other cities,“ she said.